A Loudoun County, Virginia, family has become Santa for dozens of Dominican children with HIV.
For Andy Piedra and his brother, their work started a few years ago, when they were talking about how to do more to give back. Piedra’s brother had already been doing things such as going to Walmart during the holidays and paying off layaway orders with children’s toys and clothing.
Last year, they stumbled upon the Dominican Republic’s Pink House Children’s Home, a facility that takes in orphans with HIV.
“We asked them what kind of support they were getting,” Piedra said. “They weren’t getting any. That’s when we decided we were going to focus on this and see what kind of impact we could make.”
With his brother and sister, they threw a Christmas party for the children and raised $15,000 to fund most of their HIV suppression medication for the entire year. The monetary total fell slightly short of what was needed to pay for all of their medication, but this year, they’re hoping to be able to pay for it all, as well as a little more.
Their goal this year is $20,000 to fund the medicine as well as a little left over to fund extra issues when they pop up.
“One of the teenagers showed a talent for baseball, but he was too young to be sponsored to join the national team. But they said he could play on the team if someone else sponsored him, so we gave him all his equipment,” Piedra said. “We were able to use some extra funds that we pulled out of our own accounts to cover that. That’s the kind of stuff we want to be able to do.”